It was revealed this month that North Carolina's Division of Motor Vehicles has offered to replace about 10,000 license plates that include "WTF," because that's a popular text-messaging term for "What the ..." (well, you know). Here are some acronyms and initialisms you might not know:
1 WWILF stands for "What was I looking for?" It's not the queen's English, but it is the basis for a British slang word, "wilfing," which means aimless Internet searching, especially at work.
2 DFAC is a "dining facility" in the military. It's pronounced dee-fak. If you call it a "chow hall" or "mess hall," you're old school. Another military term is TRATS, for tin-tray rations that the Army sometimes uses in the field.
3 OTM is used by U.S. border control officials for "other than Mexican."
4 KGOY means "kids getting older younger." This is used by both social scientists and toymakers to describe the perception that children are embracing more mature interests earlier, which is bad news for dollmakers, among others. Some people believe it's also bad for society, and they blame the advertising industry for turning young girls into sexual objects.
5 BSOs are "bright, shiny objects" -- anything new and intriguing, especially in technology. The acronym is often used negatively, with the suggestion that BSOs distract a person from what is truly important.
(8)6 "Get Smart," the classic television series from the '60s that inspired the Steve Carell movie opening this weekend, has two fake acronyms: The good-guy spy agency, CONTROL, and the evil agency, KAOS, appear to be acronyms but don't stand for anything.
7 EGR is a Christian term for a sinful or difficult person. It stands for "extra grace required."
8 You've heard of NIMBYs ("not in my backyard") and LULU ("locally unwanted land use"). Well, NOTEs go a step beyond: "not over there either." There's also NOPE ("not on planet Earth")
9 An anachronym is a word that started out as an acronym but no longer is thought of that way. Examples include laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) and scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus), even when worn by dogs such as Hooch the Daredevil.
10 There's also the opposite -- a backronym, a word that didn't start out as an acronym but was given such a meaning on the back end. Wiki, the word for media created and edited by users, comes from a Hawaiian word for quick, but some people have alleged that it stands for "what I know is." Another example is bimbo, which most likely comes from the Italian word for baby but has been turned into a backronym: "body impressive, brain optional." Potential picks: Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey.
Sources: wordspy.com, doubletongued.org, langmaker.com, reference.com, globalsecurity.org, Computer Weekly and The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C.